Putting up 142 yards and one touchdown against one of the best teams in football is an impressive feat. Doing that in just your third career game? Even more impressive.
But, Arizona Cardinals wide receiver J.J. Nelson isn’t going to let it get to his head.
“I’m the type of guy, you know, I just stay level-headed, I’m going to practice the same way whether it’s on scout team or with the regular O,” Nelson told Bickley and Marotta on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM on Monday. “It’s still the same to me.”
Highlighted by a 64-yard touchdown reception, the rookie out of Alabama-Birmingham led the Cardinals in receiving yards in their 34-31 win over the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.
Buried in the depth chart behind proven veterans, Nelson hadn’t seen the field much before Sunday’s game. But as a rookie, that didn’t discourage him.
“We’re seven deep. We have a lot of great guys. I feel like we have one of the best receiving cores, if not the best receiving core in the NFL. I’m a rookie so I’m just sitting back and waiting my turn,” Nelson said.
Nelson didn’t know that he’d even see the field against the Bengals until head coach Bruce Arians told him that Michael Floyd would be inactive.
“This week coach came to me and said that Mike was going to be out, I told him those were some big shoes to fill. Mike balled out this season and he balled out at Seattle. So I just tried to come out and contribute the best way I can on Sunday,” Nelson said.
It’s safe to say that Nelson, who got a game ball following his performance against the Bengals, did just that.
Nelson said that he wanted to play well for his teammates — particularly Carson Palmer and Jermaine Gresham, who are former Bengals.
“With Carson and Jermaine…they didn’t really say much going in, but we knew that it was going to be a big win for them, as well as for us,” Nelson said.
And a big win it was, moving the Cardinals to 8-2 on the season and maintaining their three-game lead in the NFC West. None of it would have happened without Nelson’s contributions, but the fifth-round pick is not content with just that game.
“It feels good, but at the end of the day we still got a long season to go,” he said.
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